Transferring Files? Two Web Sites

In a stack of papers called Technology.

  • Jun
  • 30
  • 2005

Classrooms are often filled with several kinds of computers, Mac vs. PC being the typical breakdown. But there’s also the slow vs. fast, the old vs. new, the bad vs. good. Some computers are better for certain tasks than others. Some Macs are better at reading PC-formatted disks than others, so the kid with the PC at home can still access his latest draft of a research paper in my room, even if all the PCs are being used. Or maybe a PostScript error is preventing that iMac from printing…again! Or maybe the network is down and the only computer that can print is the one that’s directly hooked up to the printer instead of connected through the network. It would be so nice to easily transfer from one computer to another computer that prints just fine, hops online just fine, or actually has the progam used to create the file.

When a file needs to move from one computer to the next and can’t be transfered using a disk (or disc), I usually tell students to just email the document to themselves. A few grunts and groans later, they are waiting to log into their MSN or AOL account, a process made even slower by my antiquated computers.

YouSendIt To The Rescue

YouSendIt provides an interface with which to simply send a link to your file, which is hosted on the YouSendIt server. This makes it a little easier to move a file from one computer to another (pretending that networking is not an option). They only need to log in to their email account once, from the computer they want the file on.

So what if you don’t have an email address? Or what if Hotmail is being buggy and you can’t download the file onto this old computer? But I need to get my file to the computer over *there* so I can print and I can’t email it to myself! No troubles.

“I’ll Be Back,” said Mailinator

Mailinator, a service designed to host an infinite amount of disposable email addresses in at attempt to avoid spam, does not allow attachments but does allow links to come through in email. Enter any address ending in “@mailinator.com” in the appropriate space at YouSendIt and a link to the document hosted on the YouSendIt server now waits for you in a Mailinator account. Hop on to the other computer where you want your file, check that Mailinator account, click on the link to the file, and download. Even if you don’t have an email address, you can email yourself a file and check it from another computer.

This also makes transferring files between home and school easier. However, remember than a Mailinator account can be checked by anyone; keep private information out of the email (don’t transfer an address book using this method). While you can’t delete the email from Mailinator (they go through every few hours and clean up themselves, absolving you of the responsibility), you can delete the file from the YouSendIt server, rendering the link to your personal essay useless. Make that Mailinator address pretty random (the site actually autogenerates a random address that you can use) and you might be safe storing a link to your file for a few hours. It should certainly be safe for the few minutes it would take to transfer from one computer to the next. If it’s being used to transfer a file from the classroom to home, just take your full name off the document and check it at home ASAP, removing the file once you have it.

UPDATE: YouSendIt spits out a confirmation email to the address listed as “Your Email Address.” So if you want a link to your file sent to two people for any reason, “Your Email Address” and “Recipient’s Email Address” will both have the link in their inbox.

Thanks to Raj and to Fresh Links for inspiration.

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